The last two days was a bit of a struggle. The weather didn't help either. It was freezing cold, grey and wet. All the same reasons why I loved the city. With so little time and so much to do, we had to have lists written down, people to call, cheques to write out, appointments to arrange, keys to be handed over.
Making decisions was sometimes hard. Should we let go? With whom?
Meanwhile Danny the Decorator was making good progress with the painting of the apartment. Another decision we had to make but didn't anticipate. He didn't come cheap. Nothing did. But what do you do?
At first we were really depressed. The place we so loved was such in a dissaray. Unloved and not taken care of. It was a place built with love, hope and sweat.
Perhaps we loved the apartment so much precisely because we had to work extra hard to earn it. To save up for the deposit we had to put ourselves on a strict budget. Every penny had to be accounted for. I'm sure we still have the spreadsheet on a memory disk somewhere. How every penny spent is noted down and the budget adjusted accordingly.
On the days I bought the travel card which then cost GBP4.50, I would have to make sure that I will utilize it as much as I could. It could be the day I go to the market in Croydon, or my bus ride to buy meat, then for Italian class and even a trip to Tesco before heading home. We would both bring large rucksacks so we could stuff all the groceries and necessities in them. We could only buy what we could carry and each purchase would have to be considered seriously, is this a need or want? Its quite hard to struggle with groceries on the bus, you see.
I would normally buy whatever was reduced or on offer. Thats the only way to make the money go further. He would bring a packed lunch. And if we ate out, we would choose things that would last the longest, make us most full for the minimal spend.
Those days I often asked myself, what did I get myself into. We moved to the UK, into a life of penny pinching and public transport from a life of being chauffeured driven and eating out at top eateries in Jakarta. As I struggled with the weight on my back, I would remember the days when groceries were sent to the car and from the car to the apartment by the doorman. But it was a life we chose to leave behind. All for a greener dream.
As uncle Dean pointed out when we told him the story, sometimes its good to struggle a little in life. Makes you appreciate what you have better.
And he is right of course.
Which was why it was so hard to move out of the house. We moved out of the country 4 years ago but just could not move out of that flat.
I still remember how 6 years ago, we slept on the floor on a comforter on the first night we moved in with the patio door open. We had no furniture. But we were incredibly happy. We spent hours trawling about furniture stores, DIY shops, looking at what we want and deciding what we could afford. Once again, the trusted Excel spreadsheet was drawn up, how much we would spend on what and how we would get it home and how else we could get it cheaper.
We painted each walls ourselves. Still have the rollers and the paint tray in the store room. Each of that we did with joy and anticipation. Each choice we did together after hours or research and contemplation.
Which explained why we began to feel a bit different as Danny painted each room. He first started in the kitchen. The room that broke my heart when I got home. It just looked so tired and uncared for. I had spent many hours in that space, cleaning, cooking, thinking. The fresh coat of paint just lifted the spirits of that room. A new lease of life. A breathe of fresh air.
Danny also repaired the hole in the ceiling. Another item that we just kept at the back of our minds for a long time. Why we didn't get it repaired right away I don't know. Perhaps I was afraid of the damage it would cost.
And it was amazing how much stuff we still had there. The skip we hired got quite full. The old TVs got in there first. The TV was purchased within the first 2 months on our arrival. Luckily Curry's delivers.
Clothes, books, shoes were either sent to the charity shop or clothes bank. I still could not throw out or give away the Ecco shoes I backpacked in Europe with. My first Coach bag that was bought in Hong Kong was still in that cupboard. Good thing I checked the pockets before sending it off because it still had some money in it. For the longest time, I could not part with the bag because it was the first good bag I owned that DH got me when we were living in Hong Kong. But it was not something I would use anymore. SO I had to set it free to someone who could use it and give it a good home.
I had to smile when I saw that black rug sack sitting pretty in the window of Oxfam charity shop. Goodbye my dear. May someone else find you a great joy.
Lesson No 362, my memories stay with me, not with worldly personal possessions. If anything, the world is open for me to make even more beautiful memories.
Towards the end, I had to enlist the help of uncle Dean to get rid of the rest of our stuff. And boy we had so much stuff! Luckily he is a very keen gardener and was very keen indeed in inheriting all of our garden tools. We had everything, the hedge trimmer, the landmower, the compost, miracle grow, the nice hose, the extension cord. Everything he took.
He helped me emptied out the cupboard. Oh boy I bought a lot of candles. I don't know why I bought them when I hardly used them. Perhaps I thought I'd use them for a romantic dinner and/or cuddle or something.
Lesson no 363, no more buying candles! Unless I could use them to see my auras or something useful to that effect.
With Danny's progress each room was painted with magnolia walls and brilliant white ceilings. He did a good job and the apartment got a new suit, a new skin, a new feel. Each room became depersonalized, they were no longer the walls we painted with love and became a sign of old baggage being getting rid off.
I just had to close my eyes. What could fit in our bags could come with us, the rest well either went to Danny, uncle Dean, Kak Nor, the charity shop, the rubbish bin and/or the skip. Its almost like having my own Life Laundry episode.
Lesson no 364, need to trim down my clutter. I tend to accumulate too much. What is no longer used need to be recycled or gotten rid of.
If anything our struggle is nothing different that what most people have to go through each day. It is no way extraordinary. If anything it made us stronger and more aware of what we are capable of achieving as long as we set our minds to it and work hard at it.
So everyone kept asking me how my trip to London was. To that my answer is, I had to face my past and our future at the same time. Of course we had some sunny days and went to a few interesting places that perhaps I will blog about. But at this time, I am facing my demons. I have come to face the fact that I am a hoarder and I must stop hoarding.
And I will set the flat free, so that my tenant will live there and get the joy and happiness that we enjoyed, helping us save for The Little One's future. There are no more cobwebs of my inability to let go. I have moved on. And I will continue to move on.
From now on, I will make better choices. I will shift my life from shades of gray to beautiful living colors.
My beautiful child, I hope you will understand that good things in life don't just come in a platter to you. May you learn from our life lessons, not repeat them and achieve better than what we can. May you lead a life more extraordinary than ours, with each day bringing wondrous joy.
My darling dearest, we did this together before and will go through it together again if we need to. Thank you for traveling round the world with me. I love you and want you to always be happy.